This post was written by Marta Cortez, a member of the INCM Blog team.
Can we just stop and list the disappointments we are all feeling in this season?
Our carefully planned goals for 2020 were sidelined. Events we precisely projected and planned had to be canceled. Ministry budgets were frozen. Easter and Vacation Bible School did not look anything like the plans we so meticulously crafted. Some congregations were even forced to cancel VBS altogether.
We saw financial shortfalls in many churches as businesses closed and jobs were lost. We have grieved, knowing some of our ministry friends had to be furloughed. Some experienced the loss of a family member or friend in this season, and you could not even do a typical celebration of life services due to CDC guidelines.
This year has brought many disappointments to our ministries and even to our personal lives. And the list can go on and on. I’m sure it would not be hard for you to add one or two more of your own in the mix. We could easily call 2020 “The Year of Disappointments.”
Along with the ministry related disappointments in this season, I experienced my own personal frustration when we couldn’t celebrate my daughter’s college graduation in May. As a cancer survivor, my daughter worked hard to complete her degree. She pushed through four challenging years of college only to come to 2020 and find that the live commencement ceremony was canceled. Instead, graduates would be recognized in a virtual ceremony later in the year, which is not the same as seeing my brave daughter cross a stage in person to receive her hard-earned diploma.
The news of this hit me hard. My heart was devastated and sad. This was not the graduation celebration I had planned or dreamed of for my daughter and our family. I grieved deeply and felt a sense of loss. I felt waves of sadness crash against my heart over and over again. It layered right on top of all the other disappointments this season already brought, and it made my heart oh so heavy.
If we are honest, we can admit that disappointments and unmet expectations during COVID have burdened our hearts and wearied our souls. We might have become bitter, angry, or even apathetic. And if we are not careful, these disappointments, left unattended, can grow roots of bitterness around our hearts and choke out our joy.
We must attend to these feelings in order to move through them and forward to what God is calling us to next.
Jesus invites us to bring the disappointments, unmet expectations, and burdens this season has created on our hearts to Him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-29
Did you notice? Jesus invites us to come to him and bring him our disappointments and burdens. We don’t have to carry them by ourselves; we have a partner. He will take them and free us from the weight they bring.
Our heavy burdens are exchanged for His light yoke. The only qualification: we have to come to Him. When we surrender the weight of ministry and life’s disappointments, He refreshes our souls. He gives us the rest we need to move forward alongside Him and He promises to teach us to walk in this season in His strength.
I don’t know what disappointments, unmet expectations, or pain you have endured during the last seven months. But, I do know that whatever your disappointments may be, Jesus wants to exchange your burden for His yoke, which is easy and light. And that is a gracious invitation we need to remember in this season.
Marta Cortez is an innovative leader with a passion for family ministry. She is dedicated to equipping leaders and seeing kids come to know Christ. She has served in many roles across her ministry career. Serving in churches of various sizes, including a megachurch, has developed her management skills and ability to tailor programs and leadership models to accommodate ministry needs. Marta has been married for 37 years and has two beautiful daughters. In her spare time, Marta loves baking, good coffee, and trips to the beach.